World stocks flat despite upbeat data, oil down

Reuters

Global stocks were little changed on Monday as traders awaited details on financial help for Spain and a new aid package for Greece, while oil prices fell on an outlook for weak demand.

Data showing a much higher than expected rate of growth in Chinese exports gave risk markets support, but caution remained ahead of data expected to show the world's second-largest economy in September closed its seventh straight quarter of slowing growth.

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Wall Street was little changed in choppy morning trading even as Citigroup climbed 2.3 percent following its earnings results. Better than expected retail sales data that signaled stronger U.S. growth failed to boost equities.

"The market is in a wait-and-see approach, wanting resolution with Europe, and that's why even with positive results in earnings and data you're still not seeing much follow-through," said Matt McCormick, a money manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor Inc, which has $6.2 billion in assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 15.78 points, or 0.12 percent, to 13,344.63. The S&P 500 edged up 0.56 point, or 0.04 percent, to 1,429.15. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 2.28 points, or 0.07 percent, to 3,041.84.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top European shares was up 0.3 percent and an MSCI index of global shares added less than 0.1 percent.

Spain could ask for financial aid from the euro zone next month and if it does the request would likely be dealt with a revised loan program for Greece and a bailout for Cyprus, euro zone officials said.

The package for Spain would cost Italy the equivalent of 1.5 percent of its economic output, the finance minister in Rome was quoted as saying on Monday.

The euro surrendered gains to trade little changed against the U.S. dollar on Monday as traders looked for more clarity on a potential Spanish bailout.

Uncertainty over when Madrid will ask for financial aid, and over whether Greece can agree on new austerity measures with its indebted lenders, has discouraged some investors from buying the euro in recent weeks.

At the same time, expectations that the single currency will rally once Spain seeks a rescue package have kept market players from betting heavily against it.

"Spain has yet to request a bailout, and the IMF suggestion of a rescheduling of repayment terms for Greece has received mixed support," said Eric Theoret, currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.

The single currency was trading up 0.05 percent at $1.2957.

Brent futures fell as worries over weak global oil demand tempered positive Chinese and U.S. data.

Brent crude was down 96 cents to $113.66 a barrel , after sliding 75 cents in the previous session. U.S. oil was down $2 at $89.86.

Signs that Greece may get a fresh aid package prompted big gains in Greek debt, where yields fell to their lowest since August 2011.

The benchmark Greek 10-year bond yield was down on the day at 17.50 percent, although traders noted the moves were not based on large-scale buying.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 3/32, with the yield at 1.6664 percent.

Demand for Greek bonds has been steadily improving as a result of recent comments from German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, about the Athens government's efforts on economic reform. This has eased fears that Greece would ultimately forced out of the euro zone.

(Additional reporting by Nick Olivari and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)